Psychiatrist Questions Psychiatrist

Medication causing vertigo?

Can sertraline or other antidepressants cause bouts of vertigo? If so, could it be due to possibly damaging the inner ear? The only times I had bouts of vertigo in my life were on two different occasions, more than 2 years apart, after starting and being on sertraline for about 3 weeks. Certain head movements would trigger this. I am in my 50s…please advise.

Male | 53 years old
Complaint duration: Lingered a few weeks
Medications: Sertraline
Conditions: Vertigo

5 Answers

I would recommend talking to the Prescribing Physician and/or a Pharmacist regarding vertigo as a potential side effect of medication. You may also wish to consult a Neurologist and ENT to see if there are other reasons for your vertigo.
Abrupt discontinuation of antidepressants can cause vertigo as a symptom. Vertigo while taking them is uncommon, but every person is different and it could be an adverse drug reaction you are having. Check your blood pressure, some antidepressants can decrease blood pressures and cause dizziness as well.
The manufacturer of sertraline does state that dizziness is a common side effect; however, many people have different terminology for dizziness compared to vertigo. Two really differentiate the two would be done best buy a neurologist. So, if you get dizzy from this medicine, you definitely are not alone. Some of the common side effects go away with time and some depend upon the amount of medication one takes. If the medicine has been especially helpful for you, then it certainly would be worth talking about this with a neurologist. There are many many medication‘s that are good for dizziness and vertigo if that is an option that you choose to take. It is always wise to make sure there is nothing else medically going on that might cause the symptoms. To be prudent, would consult with a neurologist. Wishing you only the best, Lance

Lance Steinberg MD, Inc.
Assistant Clinical Professor
UCLA (Geffen) NPI
Reply to a person with a question regarding vertigo when taking Sertraline - you have provided thoughtful information regarding the history of any precious vertigo. Given the only other vertigo was when on Sertraline previously it may well be the case that it is the contributing factor. The key question did previous vertigo go away after a few weeks? If so that may be the case this time. It is known that Sertraline and other SSRI antidepressants may cause dizziness, it should subside after being on it for a while, again did it last time? You should definitely check with your prescribing doctor. There is a possibility that starting with a lower dosage and gradually titrating the amount until the desired dosage might be helpful. This is something your doctor can review with you. Perhaps a different antidepressant would be appropriate yet again your doctor will need to go over this with you. You provide helpful facts and in talking with your doctor this should be able to be rectified. Take care!
This is certainly possible. One option is to consult with your provider to switch to a different antidepressant.